Titles and Affiliations

Hematology/Oncology Fellow
Conquer Cancer, The ASCO Foundation
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Research area

Improving treatment strategies for Black women with hormone-receptor positive metastatic breast cancer.

Impact

Despite an overall improvement in breast cancer survival, non-Hispanic Black patients have the highest death rate, regardless of disease stage at diagnosis. The most significant disparity in deaths by racial group occurs in patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2 negative breast cancer, typically the most treatable form of the disease. Multiple factors contribute to this, including variations in the molecular make-up of the tumor which would influence treatment response. This can be revealed by the intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer—a form of classification stratified by the activation of several genes in the tumor. This subtyping reveals how a tumor might progress and respond to different therapies and informs treatment decisions in early-stage breast cancer, and while researchers previously analyzed how subtypes vary by age and race in early-stage breast cancer, this is not yet understood in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The characterization of intrinsic subtypes in MBC could lead to more informed decision-making and improved outcomes. For her Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award, Dr. Ivory will explore intrinsic subtypes by race and age in MBC, to potentially support new treatment approaches and improve outcomes for Black patients with breast cancer. 

What’s next

HARMONY (NCT 03769415) is a study in patients with newly diagnosed MBC that investigates the impact of intrinsic subtypes on clinical decision-making. The trial has recruited 232 of 500 participants, and Dr. Ivory will perform a secondary analysis upon reaching 300 participants to determine: 1) if there are differences by race and age in the molecular features of newly diagnosed HR-positive, HER2-negative MBC; and 2) the extent to which treatment patterns vary by race and age in these same patients.

Biography

Joannie Ivory, MD is a second year Hematology/Oncology Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. For undergraduate education, she attended Xavier University of Louisiana and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science. Subsequently, Dr. Ivory enrolled into Meharry Medical College, where she earned both her Master of Science in Public Health and Doctor of Medicine in an inaugural combined degree program. She completed training in Internal Medicine at Saint Louis University Hospital, where she led research efforts to investigate provider adherence to NCCN-guidelines in breast cancer survivors. Her current research focuses on racial and age differences in molecular subtypes of breast cancer and structural barriers to racial minority participation in clinical trials.

BCRF Investigator Since

2022